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Russian Orthodox Church to amend rules on consecrating weapons: Priests allowed to bless soldiers, but not the firearms themselves

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It’s a controversial sight, and has been the target of ridicule, but now an advisory body for the Russian Orthodox Church has drafted regulations for the blessing of weapons, which is often accompanied with a splash of holy water.

Clerics have long been pictured blessing lethal weaponry, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines, and most controversially, nuclear bombs.

Now, according to Moscow daily Kommersant, the Inter-Council Presence, a Russian church body, is finally moving toward regulating the practice. The text, not yet public, will be published after approval by the Council of Bishops in November this year.

According to the new rules, it will not be the weapons that are blessed, but the servicemen that will use them.

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“This means that the Church will not bless the ammunition warehouse, but the people, the Orthodox soldiers and their weapons, which they use to defend the Fatherland,” said Vakhtang Kipshidze, the deputy media spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church.

However, despite the new rules, Bishop Savva of Zelenograd revealed that some members of the Church believe that Orthodox priests should not be involved in consecrating arms.

“Polar opposite opinions were expressed with great passion, with some saying the Church should not bless weapons at all, and others defending the practice of consecrating any type of weapons,” he told Kommersant.

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Last year, a Church proposal suggested that Russian priests should stop blessing nuclear bombs and other means of killing an “indefinite number of people.” However, as per the latest discussion, the Inter-Council Presence has refused to single out any type of weapon.

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